(Fin.: Suomi). Indep. rep. in N Europe. Area: ca. 130,120 sq. mi. Christianity came to Fin. before 1000 probably through traders, merchants, or missionaries. The monastery at Valamo, in N Lake Ladoga, claims to have been founded 992. At least by the 12th c. Finland had received Christianity from Russ. and Sweden. Henry (d. ca. 1156; b. Eng.; according to legend, bp. Uppsala; martyr) came to Fin. ca. 1155 with crusaders under Eric IX of Sweden. Thomas (d. 1248; b. Eng.), a Dominican, believed to have been canon of Uppsala, was the 1st bp. of Finland ca. 122045. Under him Fin. became a RC protectorate. Fin. churchmen were educ. in cen. Eur. univs. The nat. ch. is Ev. Luth.; other religious communities include Baps., RCs, Jews, E. Orthodox, Meths., Adventists and the Confessional Ev. Luth. Ch. of Fin. (formerly Luth. Free Ch.). See also Sweden, Conversion of, to Christianity.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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